Ah, I feel right at home. As most of you already know, I'm a gamer. Have been my whole life. Fortunately for me I've been able to separate my digital life from my real one, so I know when it's time to put the controller down and start getting productive. I can appreciate a great game. In fact, most games are starting to get better than watching most movies. Scripts have become more serious, plots, voice work. We're in a time where this particular industry is really flying high and they're producing better ways to get the products out to their customers and innovative ways to put them "in the game" or give them more content. During these past 10 years, I had a Playstation 2 but that was all before I got my hands on Halo 3 and went to the Xbox 360... (foreshadowing?). Anyways, here's my top 10 Video games of the Past 10 years, see what you like/dislike:
10. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
I think the Wii is an underrated console, but this was the only title to make my list. If Nintendo weren't trying to be so "family friendly" and give the people some more adult themed games, I'd probably have more. Anyways, being a past Wii owner and a serious fan of the Zelda series, I had to get Twilight Princess. Lucky for me, it was one of the first title releases to come out on the console. I probably would've never missed with the Wii had it not been for this game, and thankfully, it didn't let me down. I was pretty impressed with the Wii-mote and it definitely made me feel like I was "in the game" whenever I was in combat or I was swinging the sword. Not to mention how cool it was to point to a spot on the screen and be able to shoot there (with the slingshot or bow & arrow). This is probably one of two games I put on this list where the gameplay completely overshadowed the storyline. Not because the story sucked or anything, but it was Zelda. When has Nintendo given us anything more than "Hero saves the Princess"? Still, it was an awesome game with some of the best boss fights I've ever experienced...
9. Final Fantasy X (PS2)
If I couldn't find one Final Fantasy to put on this list, Square Enix was in serious trouble. I LOVE Final Fantasy. I've practically played everyone (save maybe XII which was a mass multi online, ALA World of Warcraft), and still can't get enough. The best to come out the past 10 years has to be X. For the first time, they had character voice acting, which doesn't sound like much but trust me, it was huge. Every character had a role in the story/quest, and it just made them seem much more "real". Plus, this was the first game that actually focused on the romantic feelings between Yuna and Tidus. Yeah, Tidus wasn't what you'd call... ummm... masculine? But throughout the game he started to become less of a bitch and much more of a protagonist character. The battle system in this game was pretty legit and I liked being able to switch characters in and out of battle when I felt like it. Because the enemies were much more powerful, it made having an experienced party much more important. Oh, and after you acquired all of the characters final weapons (which was sweet because they all had unique sidequests) can you say RAPE?
8. PORTAL: Still Alive (Downloadable Content)
Originally a game that was included with Valve's "The Orange Box", Portal was an underground phenomenon almost instantly. Portal had a simple idea with extremely complex mechanics. Shoot two portals, go in one, come out the other. Seems simple, at first (and maybe game breaking), but eventually the puzzles become much more daunting and the amount of hazards you face increase drastically. Portal had one of the best and most memorable characters in video game history (GLaDOS) that turned a puzzle game into one of the funniest experiences you'd ever go through. Hell, even now, I'd go through Portal again just for the fun of it despite the fact I know all of the solutions. And yeah, it's short (maybe about 4 hours if it's your first time) but it's totally worth it. I remember my colleague (Matt Cruite) told me to try it. I was so skeptical, but after 30 minutes, I was hooked. Played through the whole game in one sitting. Loved it. Sung the song afterwards. And played it again two days later. Portal is just too much fun. It's a shame fucking Valve takes FOREVER to put games together...
7. Assassin's Creed 2 (Xbox 360, PS3)
The first Assassin's Creed was a "must play" game for anyone if you ask me. Had the aspects of action, story, challenge, three priorities for great games if you ask me. But the game had two HUGE flaws: no replay value and extremely repetitive. Fight these soldiers, go to these view towers, kill these people... Yeah, I get it, can you give me something different? The game had lots of potential, just needed some tweaking. That's when Ubisoft released the sequel. Right off the bat, you could see a difference. The controls that everyone loved (especially the ease of "free running") was back, more options for stealth kills, and a protagonist that you could actually like (nothing against Altair, but Ezio Auditore was just cooler and have more personality). Ubisoft listened to the gamers and gave them what they wanted and took away what they didn't want. Targets became more elusive, and you had to use more strategy (and imagination) if you wanted to kill your assignment stealthy. The addition of TWO hidden blades and the air assassination? So rad to jump from the rooftops and take out two unsuspecting guards with one leap, man... so satisfying. The hidden gun not only made Ezio more deadly, but it also added to the direction of the story. If you've played the newest Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, it's not strange to see a guard with a rifle. This gives Ubisoft options for future games, and eases "modern weaponry" into the storyline.
6. Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
I'm one of those cats who's more into the storyline behind Gears of War rather than it's multiplayer. Of course, you got the hardcores like my brother who plays Gears of War 2... EVERYDAY. But there's a legitimate reason why: the game is just that good. The replay value shot through the roof, mainly because the multiplayer was much improved. For once, the Gnasher shotgun wasn't the most dominating weapon every match. Chainsaw kills weren't nearly as annoying (it almost felt like you were sucked into a black hole whenever another player revved it up). New game modes (Horde, which now has so many other video games mimicking it) and "Capture the Meat Flag" (a flag that attacks you back? What a twist to a classic game mode... Genius). The campaign was very satisfying for me (and definitely challenging if you put it on Insane). If you played the first, you probably questioned "What's up with Marcus relationship with his Dad?" "What does Adam Fenix (Marcus' dad) have to do with Locust tunnels?" "Who the Hell is Dom looking for?". Well, Epic didn't answer all of those questions with Gears 2, but they did paint a better picture as to what the Locust wanted with humans AND gave the characters lots more personality. Plus, online co-op was an absolute must and they implemented it. Gears campaign just feels "right" when you play it co-op. I like the whole "Brothers in Arms" feel between Marcus and Dom. Gameplay? Vastly improved from it's predecessor. More options to take cover (I.E. the mobile shield and using downed opponents as "meat shields"), better weapons (the scorcher, mulcher, and my favorite, the mortar), and many badass executions (because if I'm gonna be humiliated, atleast give me more than they classic curb stomp). Gears of War 2 was all that the fans of the franchise could've hoped for and a little bit more.
Check back tomorrow and I'll post my "Top 5"... and of course, tell me what you think.